Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I Have Been Drinking Lately

Tonight I conducted a wine tasting dinner at Carmen’s Restaurant atop the Bridge hotel in Boca Raton.  About 20 people attended, all residing in the area, and about 20% were non-American.  
The featured winery was Montgras, a Chilean producer of fine wines.  They drank wonderfully with the dinner prepared by Chef Dudley Rich.

We opened with a wonderful 2009 bottle of Chardonnay Reserva.  The cool taste was crisp and featured a long, citrus-dominated flavor with a subtle but extended finish.  I particularly enjoy this Chardonnay due to its lively tonalities marked with overtones of minerality.  There is a smooth, delectable finish rare in most chardonnays.  A delicious salad of greens made the first course a wonderful beginning to a rewarding evening.

The second course accompanies a delicious Sauvignon Blanc Reserva that sparkled with an alluring aroma of mixed citrus and herbal overtones.  To the taste, we found lilts of flowers, long grapefruit dominated smoothness and an elegant finish.  Bereft of any bitterness, this wine was a delight with the subtle crabmeat plate that accompanied it.

Our third dish was broiled salmon and we creatively served Montgras’ Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva from 2008, a Bordeaux-like product that was universally praised by the group of fortunate diners.  Medium body, dominated by blackberries and currants, this Cab offered up uncommon smoothness with only 8 months in new oak barrels.  The pairing was a first for most of the diners, but is one of my favorites.  It happily displayed the long, extended finish of this superb wine and dispensed with prejudices as to pairing a terrific red wine with fish.  The salmon was fresh, delicious and wonderfully prepared by Chef Dudley.

The final wine was Montgras’ Carmenere Reserva, a big, bold wine with a deep violet color.  Exuding black currant with granite overtones, the wine offered a plethora of herbs, spices and pepper undercurrents that made the evening special for many of the diners who had yet to have the pleasure of a spectacular Carmenere.  Matched with a perfectly prepared Chicken leg, succulently flavorful, this final entrée was perfection in style and pairing.

As I frequently do at wonderful dinners such as this, I encouraged the entourage to choose their favorite red wine to pair with the chocolate mousse dessert, which is always a pleasant surprise for those who have yet to have this privilege.   I adored the pairing  with the Carmenere and the evening was a divine gathering of wonderful food and true wine gems.  Montgras is a magic, Chilean owned and run winery with a big future in the United States market.

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